The best criminal justice degree programs are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best criminal justice degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding criminal justice faculty.
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is an excellent starting point for a career in policing, corrections, homeland security, and a host of other important roles related to crime, justice, and public safety. As a criminal justice major, you’ll study three primary subject areas—law enforcement, corrections, and the courts. Majoring in criminal justice is a good starting point if you plan to study policing, law, administration of justice, counter-terrorism, and more. You’ll study related subjects including criminal psychology, rehabilitation, and sociology. And if you’re interested in eventually going to law school and becoming a practicing attorney, majoring in criminal justice could be a good starting point. A degree in criminal justice will give you the knowledge and qualifications to contribute to public safety, national security, social justice, and a host of other related fields.
Degree popularity: Criminal justice bachelor’s degrees are the 16th most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics. It is slightly more popular among men. Crimianl justice degrees rank 6th among Black men, 8th for Black women, 8th among Hispanic men, and 15th for Hispanic women, according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can open numerous professional doors. As noted above, the study of criminal justice is divided into three key areas: law enforcement, corrections, and the court system. Within each of these areas, there are countless avenues to a career. Whether you wish to work in a police precinct, for the Department of Homeland Security, as part of a private security firm, as a private detective, or in a specialized field like the prevention of cybercrime, majoring in criminal justice can help you get there.Back to Top
Criminal justice is a popular major because it can provide pathways into countless fields and career opportunities. If you’re looking for a well-paying and secure job, a criminal justice degree is a great place to start. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, the average median pay for police officers and detectives was $65,170. For Detectives and Criminal Investigators, that figure was $81,920 in 2018. And if you parlay your criminal justice major into a postgraduate law degree, note that lawyers, in 2019, earned a well-above-average median pay of $122,960.Back to Top
Once you’ve declared your major in criminal justice, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized criminal justice electives, there are a number of common courses that most Criminal justice majors will be required to take, including:
With a degree in criminal justice, you could qualify for an array of opportunities in law enforcement, security, forensics, counter-terrorism, corrections, and much more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identifies the following top jobs in criminal justice:
In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.
Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.
Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.
Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.
Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.
If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.Back to Top
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